Maternity Leave Realities: The First Month
Maternity leave was supposed to be all baby cuddles, coffee catch-ups and lunch dates. I'd fill my time with over ironing and learning to cook (given that right now burning toast is about all I am good for) whilst my baby napped, and having couch cuddles and playtime when he woke up. I had big plans and was under the false allusion they'd be at all possible. I've been on maternity leave for five whole weeks now. In that time, I've gone for coffee once with Harrison in tow. It was through a Costa drive-thru and I forgot to ask for sweeteners. I didn't even leave the car and I still managed to fail at coffee dates. I feel like that alone sums up how well my maternity plans are panning out. My reality was skewed, that much is for sure and I blame all of you. I blame everyone else bar myself. All I had to go on was the cushy baby pictures, the snaps of the ladies lunches and the blogging success of so many mummas at home, false sense of security doesn't even begin to cover it. It turns out, my maternity leave reality hasn't been as scenic.
My PJs don't match. In fact I've worn the same for the last three days.
The first few weeks of maternity leave means jammie days more often than normal days, that much I was completely aware of, in fact, I looked forward to it. In my head though, I was in nice, clean, cosy matching pyjamas, living the high life on my couch. Flannel ones, the nice kind. The reality is that not once have I worn a pair of these nice kind, I've not even worn a matching pair since I had Harrison - at this point, I don't even think I own a matching pair. The night feeds mean that daytime is no different than night-time and it's a rarity that I bother to change in the morning if Harrison has had a bad night. Sick stained and lived in is the look I'm going for.
Lunching isn't as easy when it takes four hours to leave the house.
With a 5 week old who doesn't like being put down, getting both myself and him ready to leave the house bordering on mission impossible. On the off chance he decides to nap outwith my arms, by the time I've got myself ready, tidied the house (kind of), dressed bub and packed the three bags we inevitably will take with us for our 40 minute excursion, it's time to feed again, and I'm so exhausted that even the thought of a pick me up coffee isn't enough to make me leave the house. I'm hoping this will get easier as he gets older and I can get a coffee date or two in.
Getting any work done is almost impossible.
I never thought I'd count a blog as 'work', but it does bring in a little extra while I'm making next to nothing on maternity leave. This was all great when I was pregnant and had hours upon hours to create content (or put off creating content), faff around with my camera and make all of these big plans. Post birth, I'd had it in my head that I could keep up with all of this whilst baby napped, I mean, that is what they do the majority of the time, right? Wrong. Yes, they nap, but unfortunately for blogging, newborns like mummy cuddles. I'm not complaining, I like them too, but it doesn't allow for much work to be done. The reality of maternity leave is a manoeuvring a laptop with a baby on your chest and learning to take pictures in a 5 minute time gap...
I have no time to get bored.
Everyone told me I'd be so bored. I'm only 5 weeks in, so ask me again in 4 months time, but how on earth I'm supposed to get bored when I feel like the day is over in a second I don't know. It takes me until midday to even get ready, never mind do anything worthwhile with my day. At the end of the day I don't feel like I've managed to accomplish anything, but throughout it I feel as though I'm constantly doing something. Baby days are decieving.
It's not always smiles and rainbows.
I'd love to sit here and say my first month has been glorious - I have a beautiful healthy baby boy, and so I should be happy and chirpy and over the moon, and the reality is that that just is not the case. No matter how good a day I'm having one day, there's nothing to say the next I won't be in a haze of newborn exhaustion and ultimately feeling sorry for myself. No one told me I'd feel sorry for myself when I had a baby. I'm not supposed to after all - kids are the best gift in the world. That's true, but it doesn't make it any easier to not be a hormonal wreck in the first month. I have my ups and downs, and these days a hell of a lot more ups than I do downs.